Tag Archives: Trains

“New York Central System’s GM Aerotrain: The Road to the Future”

A postcard depicting a General Motor’s Aerotrain. From the back of the card: The New York Central System “The Road to the Future.” A General Motors “Aerotrain” is shown on display here at Buffalo, New York in Feb. of 1956. The train failed in regular operation and was in service on the Central less than a year. It was part of a futile effort to upgrade passenger service. Similar units were used briefly on the Pennsylvania and the Union Pacific Railroads. By 1969 the Road to the Future had proved to be the Road to Ruin. The card was distributed in 1970 by Owen Davies, Bookseller.


THE FLORIDA SUNBEAM was operated by the New York Central System, the Southern Railway System, and the Seaboard Airline Railroad. On Jan. 1, 1936 the Florida Sunbeam was inaugurated as a winter-only train between Cincinnati and both coasts of Florida with through cars from Great Lakes cities. In 1949 it was replaced with the much faster, streamlined NEW ROYAL PALM on a changed routing. This linen postcard depicts an ALCO DL-109 diesel locomotive pulling the train. It was advertised as being diesel powered between Cincinnati, Ohio and Valdosta, Georgia.

“The Cincinnatian, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s De Luxe All-Coach Passenger Streamliner”

The Cincinnatian was a named passenger train operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). The B&O inaugurated service on January 19, 1947, with service between Baltimore, Maryland and Cincinnati, Ohio, essentially a truncated route of the B&O’s National Limited, which operated between Jersey City, New Jersey and St. Louis, Missouri. The Cincinnatian is most famed for its original dedicated equipment, rebuilt in the B&O Mount Clare Shops. The design work was done by Olive Dennis, a pioneering civil engineer employed by the railroad and appointed by Daniel Willard to special position in charge of such work for passenger service. The livery used the blue and gray scheme designed by Otto Kuhler, which Dennis laid on the engine and tender in a pattern of horizontal stripes and angled lines. In 1950, its route was changed to travel between Detroit and Cincinnati; the train kept this route until 1971, when Amtrak assumed passenger rail service.

“The Flying Yankee: An Early Streamlined Articulated Trainset”

The Flying Yankee was a diesel-powered streamliner built in 1935 for the Maine Central Railroad and the Boston and Maine Railroad by Budd Company and with mechanical and electrical equipment from Electro-Motive Corporation. It was also the name of a passenger train, the third streamliner train in North America after the Union Pacific Railroad’s M-10000 and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s Pioneer Zephyr; the Flying Yankee was, in fact, a virtual clone of the latter, except that it dispensed with the baggage/mail space to seat 142 in three articulated cars.

“Seaboard Streamlined Steam Locomotive at the Seaboard Railway Station, St. Petersburg”

Postcard depiction of one of the finest Seaboard Air Line Streamlined Steam Locomotives at the Seaboard Air Line Railway Station at St. Petersburg, Florida, “The Sunshine City.”
This is a linen type card that was popular circa 1930s to early 1950s. Streamlined locomotives and trains began in the early to mid 1930s with the lightweight diesel trains such as the Pioneer Zephyr. By the late 1940s to early 1950s, diesel powered locomotives were in common use for passenger service. This card is likely from the 1930s to 1940s.

“The Wabash City of Kansas City”

The City of Kansas City was a streamlined passenger train operated by the Wabash Railroad and its successor the Norfolk and Western Railway between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. It operated from 1947 to 1968. At the time of its introduction it was the only streamliner which operated entirely within the state of Missouri. The City of Kansas City commenced operating on November 26, 1947, and made a daily 278-mile round trip schedule between St. Louis and Kansas City. At the time of its introduction it was the only streamliner which operated entirely within the state of Missouri. General Omar Bradley, a native Missourian who as a young man had worked on the Wabash, christened the new train. Primarily a daylight train, No. 3 departed St. Louis at 8:45am, and arrived in KC at 2:15pm. The consist was then turned around and readied for the eastbound trip as No. 12, departing KC at 3:55pm, and arriving in St. Louis at 9:45pm. The American Car and Foundry Company built the original seven-car consist in their St. Charles, Missouri plant in the suburbs of St. Louis. Cars included a baggage car, baggage-mail car, two 58-seat coaches, a lunch counter-coach, a dining car, and a parlor-observation car. The interior of the parlor-observation car was designed according to Pullman Plan #9001 and Pullman managed the car, as it did with all the Wabash parlor cars. The Norfolk and Western Railway leased the Wabash in 1964 but did not discontinue the City of Kansas City until February 1968. See more vintage passenger trains at http://www.classicstreamliners.com and follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/railstream.

“Rio Grande Southern Railroad’s Galloping Geese”

A famed aspect of the Rio Grande Southern was its fleet of Galloping Geese. During the Great Depression, increasing operational costs made it expensive to operate trains over the mountainous railroad. The railroad devised a rail car from Buick and Pierce-Arrow automobiles or bus front ends and a box car rear end. Seven Geese were built for the line, and all but one survive today. The Goose at Knott’s Berry Farm still operates in the function it was designed for—to run a cost-effective rail service on days when demand does not require full-size trains (mostly weekdays during Fall, Winter and Spring in this year-round theme park). All six original Geese and a reproduction of No. 1 are operational. Goose, No. 4 was restored to operation in 2011 by the volunteers of the Ridgway Railroad Museum and the Telluride fire department. See more at http://www.classicstreamliners.com.

The Nickel Plates New “Bluebirds”

In 1947, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway ended its control of the Nickel Plate Railroad, selling off its remaining shares. That same year, the Nickel Plate ordered 11 new ALCO PA diesel-electric locomotives, and named them the “Bluebirds.” These locomotives were the first for the Nickel Plate that had non-black livery since the early 1900s. The Nickel Plate received its last Berkshire in 1949, numbered 779, which was also the very last steam locomotive built by the Lima Locomotive Works. Later in 1949 on December the 1st, the Nickel Plate leased the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway. The Nickel Plate began operating its own dining cars in 1949. Before this, all meal service had been handled by the Pullman Company. By 1950, even though passenger revenues only contributed 1.2% of the Nickel Plate’s total revenues, all passenger cars were modern, postwar, streamlined equipment. In fact, passenger miles had increased by 3.2% compared with 1949, a trend unlike other U.S. railroads. The Nickel Plate retired the last steam locomotive from service in 1960, officially ending the steam era and achieving complete dieselization.

“Conrail: The Consolidated Rail Corporation”

The United States government formed Conrail to salvage the profitable lines of several bankrupt railroads, including the Penn Central and the Erie Lackawanna Railway. After regulatory changes, Conrail was able to turn a profit in the 80s and by 1987 was turned over to private investors. In 1997, the last two remaining Class I railroads in the Eastern U.S., the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) and CSX Transportation, agreed to split the system equally, which essentially brought back rail freight competition in the Northeast by undoing the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad that formed Penn Central.

The Turquoise Room Aboard the Santa Fe Super Chief

The Turquoise Room Aboard the Santa Fe Super Chief

The Turquoise Room aboard the Santa Fe Super Chief was the ultimate dining experience. The Santa Fe railway was known for its excellent passenger train service and introduced many innovations in passenger rail travel, among these the beautiful Turquoise Room, the ultimate in on board dining.